A new digital path for films in Europe?
PARIS: While 1740 films are produced each year in Europe, only 37% of these films are distributed outside of their country of origin. The difficulties to travel, encountered by the European film, demonstrates that the current system of international sales ("all rights" sales) is not adapted to current conditions anymore, as it leaves more and more films at the roadside.
Compared to traditional distribution, and for films difficult to distribute through a strictly territorialised model, digital distribution presents real opportunities.
Firstly, the direct digital distribution scheme presents low entry costs, composed of subtitling and encoding costs. In addition, the existence of pan-European platforms covering many territories with only a single point of entry for the supply allows for a considerable smoothness in term of process, and a real cost efficiency.
Moreover, digital distribution brings greater flexibility with the possibility to block or open windows of exploitation at any time and territory by territory.
Finally, the existence of specialised actors, the aggregators, representing a legal, technical, commercial, marketing, editorial and financial interface between the rights holders and the platforms, makes this new distribution form now accessible to all types of rights holders in Europe.
In these conditions, digital could represent in the long run a real distribution network and the opportunity to considerably improve the circulation of films in Europe. Making films available is a necessary condition but not sufficient to develop this sector. Marketing is indeed crucial and new strategies need to be investigated and experimented with to reach out to audience throughout Europe.
WTW:The Walk This Way Action: a concrete opportunity for European films
In this context, Under the Milky Way Website, a Paris based aggregator relying on an international network, has launched in 2015 the Walk This Way (WTW) action, with the support of Europe’s Creative Media, to improve the circulation of films in Europe.
WTW aggregates and promotes films for straight-to-VOD distribution in the European Union and since 2017 also in Japan, North America and Latin America. The action is concretely contributing to improving the circulation of films in Europe through:
Since the first WTW edition and after having released more than 85 films in 7 different collections, a progressive shift from European professionals towards international VOD distribution as a credible business model can be observed. The increasing figures and improving VOD market trends, both in terms of sales and visibility, support the credibility of the model’s growth. However, in a long-term perspective, the challenge remains to firmly establish this new distribution channel to promote and distribute European films while continuing to learn and develop a new expertise for markets where traditional channels (theatrical, physical video, etc.) are weakening or declining. Therefore, 2017 will be a crucial year, as it is the first time that the WTW scheme has been extended beyond Europe with even greater marketing resources.
About the Author: Muriel Joly
She is in charge of business development for Under The Milky Way. She began her career at StudioCanal (Canal + Group) first in the Domestic Home entertainment department, as a product manager (2004-2006) and then as a marketing VP for international Home Entertainment (2006-2009). After 2 years (2010-2011) in consulting, where she became interested in issues of the Video on Demand emerging market, she became in charge of marketing development for Canalplay, the VOD brand of Canal + group .
For more information: Website : Under The Milky Way*European Audiovisual Observatory (LINK)
Sten-Kristian Saluveer was the organiser of the 2016 edition of the European Film Forum conference in partnership with the European Commission in Tallinn within the frames of the Black Nights Industry Days. The event focused on innovation, new technology and the digital single market initiative and other key topics for Europe’s audiovisual industries. Saluveer is an Estonian film and audiovisual media producer, festival manager & programmer, consultant, and film researcher focusing on East-Asian film industries, specifically Japan and South-Korea. He graduated from Concordia International University in Electronic Media and has followed up in Culture Management(Estonian Music Academy) and Japanese Studies (Department of Asian Studies, Tallinn University). Most recently he holds a Master’s Degree from University of Tokyo (Japan) with an awarded thesis on film industry development and international co-productions in Hong Kong, Japan,and South Korea.
Peeter Nieler is an innovator and former film and television producer, developing Virtual Reality technologies. He is a sought-after speaker and - as he calls himself - Venture Catalyst having started already two Virtual Reality companies. Criffin is focused on hardware design and Virtual Neuroscience Lab is researching VR scientifically. His companies already have two technologies in portfolio and some in the pipeline, most important being omnidirectional treadmill for natural locomotion in Virtual Reality.
Jorik Jakubisko is one of the leading European experts in transmedia problematics. He is co-owner of the Prague based Transmedialist which will publish the comic book Bouquet at November (CZ+SK). It is first pillar for transmedia project Czech Grimm.PhD He is student at FSV UK (Faculty of Social Sciences at Charles University - Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism) and he writting his doctorate dissertation on Transmedia in context of single European digital market . He also works as a creative partner in Jakubisko Film in Prague together with his mother and father Deana and Juraj Jakubisko.
Agnes Salson graduated from the French cinema school La Fémis and Mikael Arnal, filmmaker, created the project "Tour d’Europe des cinémas", a journey across Europe visiting a hundred cinemas, seeking for innovative ideas and trends for independent cinema exhibition.